Thursday, August 21, 2014

doctors and needles and pills

Disclaimer:  I do NOT! look like this right now... :-P
Oh my!
Today I find myself on prescription medication and collapsed on a couch eating saltines and Italian ice.  Yesterday seems like it happened years ago.
Let me back up a little bit.
Life can seems very overwhelming sometimes.  These nearly two-and-a-half years of marriage, Andrew and I have gone through quite the list of bumps in our road.
And it was very recently that Andrew prayed for the Lord to please give us a reprieve... not to make our lives perfect, just for a time where things aren't so constantly complicated.
In response, God is teaching us again that His plans aren't our plans and that we need to continue to trust Him always.
Yesterday morning (around 4am) I woke up to a terrible pain in my abdomen.  I thought it was an intestinal issue (something that is quite common for me) and treated it as such... but as the day went on nothing changed, except to get progressively worse.  The pain was so great it was causing me to experience strong nausea (and yes, vomiting).  After Andrew got home from work it was bad enough to walk (and by that I mean "shuffle, bent over in pain, trying valiantly not to cry") to the car and visit the local InstaCare (besides just the amount of pain, it was also very strong in one area on my right side, so we were worried it might be appendicitis).
After some prodding and a lot of talking (which is hard to do when all you want is for someone to knock you out!), the conclusion is that I'm suffering from a kidney infection.  They gave me a shot in my side (not fun!) for the pain and I am now on two different medications (one to fight the infection and another for nausea).
Not the "break" we had been hoping for.
But God is bigger than all of this.  He is bigger than financial burdens, health issues, or crushed hopes. 
Right now a little jingle I learned as a small child is coming to my mind:
"My God is so great
So strong
And so mighty
There's nothing my God cannot do.
The mountains are His
The rivers are His
The stars are His handiwork too.
My God is so great
So strong
And so mighty
There's nothing my God cannot do."
Such simple words, yet they perfectly embody the faith I need to have in God every moment... whether I'm standing in a beautiful summer rain or lying on a hospital bed.
If you would, please pray that my recovery goes well.  Andrew is home with me and is taking such good care of me (and also making sure I'm eating and staying hydrated).  Pray that he wouldn't get too stir-crazy... he's already cleaned the kitchen, started some laundry, and is now pacing around the house.  ;-)  Pray that the pain for me would stay at a minimum and that the meds would do their work.
Thank you so much!!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

recipe... yummy *and healthy* meatloaf

I was never much of a meatloaf lover as a child... then my mom found a recipe that changed my mind.  It was the best meatloaf I had ever tasted and I married a man who loved it as well.  Then we started eating in a more healthy way and that recipe had to say goodbye.  Andrew missed having meatloaf (as did my parents and siblings when they changed what foods they ate).  My mom came up with this delicious recipe and since then I have played around with measurements and different spices to get the *perfect* meatloaf for my hubby and me (I like it better than my original favoirte).  If you're looking for a healthier way of eating but don't want to give up the comfort foods, this recipe might be one to try!  The only "uncommon" ingredient is Ezekiel bread, which can be found at Meijer (in the freezer section under "vegetarian").  If you, like me, don't live near a Meijer, check a local grocery store, farmer's market, or organic food store (I have found it in 3-4 different stores near where I live!).  It is the only bread I regularly eat and I love it!

Yummy-and-Healthy Meatloaf:

1 lb. ground beef
1 egg
1/2 cup salsa
1 slice Ezekiel bread
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
optional pinch of garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, and rosemary for garnish
Coconut (or olive) oil

Preheat oven to 350.
Grease cooking dish with either coconut or olive oil.  This step isn't absolutely nessecary, but it makes cleaning the dish SO much easier later!
Place raw ground beef, egg, salsa, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder into a mixing bowl.  Toast slice of Ezekiel bread and then crumble it into the bowl as well.  Mix well (I use my hands!). 
Place mixture in cooking dish and form into a "loaf".  Garnish with extra garlic powder and onion powder, then also a little bit of parlsey and rosemary.
Place in oven for 50-60 minutes (cooking time will slightly change depending on how thick you make your loaf).



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

desert rain

I am surrounded by mountain and valleys... stretching, climbing landscapes that capture the attention *and heart* every day.
But the most beautiful thing I have experienced here is the rain.
Because, you see, I live in the desert.
In this place the grass is either well-tended or it dies.  Dirt isn't soft, moist, and almost-black... it is tan, dry, and chalky.
The heat gets strong, plants die, and the ground cracks under the pressure.  It becomes a sweltering, blinding wilderness. 
Then the rain comes.  And everything changes.
Deep greens reappear, the heat is cooled, the ground turns copper as it soaks up the moisture, and the smell... oh the smell... the sweet aroma of sage brush fills the air.  It is cleansing, restoring, and beautiful.
Then it builds.  Because here there are so many rocks and not enough earth to absorb it all.  It rolls down the sides of the roads, crashing over pebbles.  Growing, sweeping, and flooding.
It doesn't seem possible that only a day of rain can bring about something so mighty.
And my heart can be like this desert.  The sun beats down and I slowly fade and crack.  Days and weeks (or years) on end the heat comes to burn and wither.  I wonder what to do with the little I have left in me.
"Therefore Jesus, lifting up His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him, said to Philip, 'Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?'
This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do.
Philip answered Him,  'Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little.'
One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him, 'There is a lad who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many people?'
Jesus said, 'Have the people sit down.'  Now there was much grass in the place.  So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted.
When they were filled, He said to His disciples, 'Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.'
So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten."
~ John 6: 5-13

Jesus gave thanks for the little He had been given and God used that small gift in a way not humanly possible.
He showed something miraculous and beautiful...  And if He can do something so amazing with bread and fish, how much more is possible for Him to accomplish in and with the redeemed heart of His child?
"I would have despaired unless I believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord."
~ Psalm 27:13-14
And He does come.  Like rain in the desert, He comes.  He brings back my life and ability to thrive.  I still fight with the despair over and over, but His goodness, His mercy without end, comes rushing over me, flooding my soul and strengthening my heart. 
I need only be still and thank Him.
And, like the scent of dry sage brush in a downpour, it is so sweet.